Dr David Malkin

Clinical Psychologist Perth | Counsellor Perth

Tel: 0409 227 548

The Culture Is Important

In 1964 Marshall McLuhan published 'Understanding Media:The Extensions of Man'.He argued that the form of a medium influences the perception of a message itself.From that derives the popular term 'the medium IS the message'.In everyday life this can be understood by seeing how the culture of a work place;sporting team or personal relationship is instrumental in determining outcomes.Often the culture,( ie.style of communication,direct or indirect,open or closed,fair or unfair,respectful or devaluing,fullsome or sparse,immediate or delayed etc.,) is set by the leadership,chief executive,coach,selector,or dominant partner.Hence,the emotional tone in an organisation,team,or relationship can feel safe or unsafe,blocked or unblocked.

In a personal relationship,if the culture feels unsafe,problem solving is difficult to achieve because of a lack of trust and negative assumptions about the real intentions and motivations of the other person.Engendering a safe culture is a worthwhile exercise.This can be done if regular and authentic compliments and appreciation are frequently exchanged to give a backdrop of connection.Time set aside for talking and sharing is important.In this way communication can be checked and clarified and agreements reached to satisfy needs.If one or or both people find it difficult to talk for various reasons,there is still great value in sharing activities together to allow a connecting energy.These activities can be simple;for example walking or cycling together,engaging in a shared hobby or course of some type, or planning a future holiday or project etc.In general it is worthwhile to attend to the medium or culture in a relationship first before expecting the most positive outcomes from problem solving.

If you require the services of a Perth Counsellor or Perth Psychologist,please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Snow falls,crystal flake,

Choiceless structure of shape,yet

Fresh on face,freedom.(Malkin 1/09/13)

This is an attempt at Haiku,an ancient Japanese form of poetry.The beauty and difficulty of haiku lies in the necessary structure.Lines of five,seven,and five syllables respectively combined with Kireji and Kigo.Kireji is regarded as 'the cutting word',normally positioned at the end,produces emotion and provides structural support and linkage.Kigo,also structural is more conceptual and usually associates with a season.The reference to nature is intended to create images that,again,produces emotion as well as ideas.The overall effect is freedom within form and a sense of Zen.The above Haiku is intended to represent both in form and content the idea that freedom can be  found in structure and discipline.

Hence,following this idea, freedom is not nothing,it is something.It is not absence,it is presence.It is not formless,it is structured.The apparent freedom of a performance dancer or pianist or sporting hero is grounded in years of nurturing skill based on discipline,commitment and structure.

The popular thinking and dream of freedom is usually the opposite of this,perhaps just endlessly lazing on a beach somewhere.Instead,it is likely to feel more freeing to have a balance between activities embedded in structures that provide attachment,anchoring,and opportunities for self expression of all dimensions.

If you require the services of a Perth Psychologist or Perth Counsellor,please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Checking Assumptions

One of Sylvia Plath's devastatingly imagetic poems is called 'Mussel Hunter at Rock Harbor'.Part of it goes...'Grass put forth claws,Small mud knobs,nudged from under,Displaced their domes as tiny Knights might doff their casques.The crabs.....(omitted material)....sidled out in a converging stream.....(omitted material)....Could they feel mud Pleasurable under claws As I could between bare toes?That question ended it--I stood shut out,for once,for all,Puzzling the passage of their Absolutely alien Order........(omitted material)...

Plath could only assume the experience of the crabs.Similarly,most of us tend to assume the experience of other people even though they are NOT crabs.So many arguments and hard attitudes come about because of the lack of checking assumptions.No matter how obvious it is to you,it is worth the question to check whether the other person has the motivation that you think they have.So often it is not so and all that has happened is that our favourite prejudice has kicked in.

In almost every setting, checking your assumptions is likely to provide an alternative explanation,not related to rejecting you,as to why someone is doing something or seems fed up.If it is related to you then the possibility of clarifying and problem solving can allow resolution.

If you are seeking the services of a Perth Psychologist or Perth Counsellor please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


In 1962 Tom Kuhn published 'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions'.This set the world of Sociology Of Science alight as the book discussed how scientific 'truth' was actually constructed through paradigm (model) shifts which sometimes were completely different from what had gone before.In short,because the model 'worked' didn't mean it was objectively true for all times and circumstances.Importantly,because the paradigms were discontinuous,and not built one upon the other,there was no way of saying there was a movement towards 'objective truth'.Previously Karl Popper, in his 'Conjectures and Refutations',had asserted that Science moves towards 'truth' by progressively testing hypotheses,refuting them,and moving closer,thereby to a more objectively 'truthful' hypothesis.

More latterly,Ken Wilber has written extensively about different levels or domains of 'truth'.He talks of the 'eye of the senses' which tries to know the material world,the 'eye of the mind' which tries to know the mental internal world,and the 'eye of spirit' which tries to know the contemplative spiritual world.Each of these worlds have 'truths' which a particularly informed and experienced community of practitioners dialogue about to establish.Post-modernism also asserts opinions rather than objective 'truths'.

In view of all of this,there is,perhaps,room for a little doubt regarding our favourite prejudices about how the world at large functions.If Science can not be certain of its 'truths',the meaning we put on our experiences leaves room for healthy scepticism.We tend to look through the same telescope and see different words written across the lens.It is prudent,therefore, to be circumspect and prepared to allow examination of differing opinions.Sometimes beliefs seem to be set in concrete regarding the deficiencies of ourselves or others.People can avoid activities which may be beneficial to them because of a limiting belief or prejudice.In Transactional Analysis there is a saying that it can be good to 'fake it until you make it'.This means suspending disbelief that you can do it.The feeling of confidence may not be there at the beginning but it can grow as you allow yourself  to be exposed to growful healthy activities.Realising your likely prejudices is a really useful first step to confronting them.If you are fearful,doing some simultaneous self re-parenting, as discussed in an earlier blog,may be useful.

If you are seeking the services of a Perth Psychologist or Perth Counsellor please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Leonard Cohen wrote a poem which includes....'Finally I called the people I didn't want to hear from...After the third ring I said I'll let it ring five more times then what will I do............(omitted material )....I decided to keep to the same street and go into the fourth drugstore and call them again'

For me, this is a pithy example of what bitter loneliness and desperation feels like.Most of us have been there at some time and I believe this is a huge,terribly painful and largely invisible,societal issue. This can occur for a wide variety of reasons including sickness,relationship breakup,depression,relocation,and financial hardship.Wanting to meet people and wanting to avoid them can characterise this, as well as desperately reaching out to those from whom we expect furthur rejection.

Although there may be a time for solitary healing,developing options for a safe support structure is really important.Organised groups,clubs,hobbies,or activities can be a platform on which to rebuild.Because they are already organised it requires relatively little effort just to attend.They are usually regular,which is important to structure time and allow friendships to grow, as well as provide leadership and supervision.They also allow a degree of space so one might not feel intruded upon when not ready to share deeply.

Constructive and safe groups (perhaps surprisingly) include Public Speaking Clubs like Rostrum or Toastmasters.You can go as an observer without obligation and without having to say anything until you are ready.Their locations and contact details can be found on the internet.Church groups can be supportive and social without necessarily being religious.Voluntary work may provide an opportunity to meet a variety of people in different settings.There is a website called Perth Meetups which contains a huge number of opportunities to join a very wide range of social and activity groups.Sporting clubs are a great way to meet people.Mens Sheds are useful for many people as are Book Clubs.The point is that being brave enough to do something is important.It is likely that your painful feelings wont change until AFTER your avoidance behavior has changed.Unlike the character described by Leonard Cohen perhaps, you can put in place structures so that you can call those you DO want to hear from.

If you are seeking the services of a Perth Psychologist or Perth Counsellor please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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